Cleveland Browns: Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield in-season QB controversy inevitable

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Roquan Smith
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: Roquan Smith /

Realistically, the Cleveland Browns are headed toward a QB between Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield probably sooner than they would want.

The Denver Broncos coveted Cleveland Browns quarter Baker Mayfield as a top-five player in last spring’s NFL Draft.

After all the talk surrounding the Cleveland Browns selection Sam Darnold with the No. 1 overall pick in last spring’s NFL Draft, the organization kind of surprised by taking Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield.

Perhaps they didn’t have a choice. If Mayfield was truly the Browns guys (and apparently he was), Cleveland needed to take him before the Broncos picked at No. 5, as Denver coveted the former Heisman winner, according to Mile High Sports’ Ben Allbright.

This nugget from Allbright comes a day after he Tweeted how “floored” the Browns have been with Mayfield through the first five practices of Training Camp.

Coach Hugh Jackson said he was exceeding expectations, but walked that statement back by warning fans not to take the praise of Mayfield’s work to this point for more than it is.

Jackson added Taylor is his starter.

That’s great and that’s what the Browns should do, but sheesh, the NFL Network is already broadcasting commercials for next week’s preseason opener as Baker Mayfield vs. Saquon Barkley.

Point being: It’s not going to take long for for this town to be embroiled in a full-blown QB controversy.

Taylor’s a fine quarterback. He led Buffalo to the playoffs last season. If he can do with the Bills, he can do it with the Browns. Browns radio network front man Nathan Zegura called Taylor the best quarterback the Browns have had in his six years covering the team.

Less we forget, though, Taylor’s the same guy who was benched for fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman, who looked like he had as much business playing in an NFL game as I do.

In the thick of a playoff hunt, mind you, Taylor was benched for the 13th game of the season.

What led to his benching? He was 9-of-18 for 65 yards for zero touchdowns and one interception.

Just three weeks earlier, Taylor posted identical numbers, going  9-of-18 for 56 yards, no touchdowns and one pick.

If Taylor performs like that–and there will be games like this–the Dawg Pound will go red in the face chanting for Mayfield.

You may get the idea that I want Mayfield to start right now. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Browns won’t win the Super Bowl this year, so there’s no harm in letting Mayfield sit and soak up everything being a quarterback in the NFL has to offer. Perhaps they usher in the Mayfield era around Week 12.

Reality will ultimately set in, though. It usually does in Browns Town.

The offensive line has holes. David Njoku is promising, but he’s still young and has to prove he can consistently catch passes. Josh Gordon is gone until he isn’t. That leaves Jarvis Landry as Taylor’s only reliable passing option.

And Taylor hasn’t shown himself to be a quarterback who elevates the play of those around him.

Next. 5 under-the-radar Browns to watch at camp. dark

History says it won’t be long until the fan base turns on Taylor. He’s got to win early and often to keep the Mayfield supporters at bay. He’s capable of it, but it won’t be surprising to see him struggle, either.